Children returning from red zones now cannot go to school on 1 September
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    Children returning from red zones now cannot go to school on 1 September

    Credit: Belga

    Children who return from a red zone now do not escape the obligation to go into quarantine for 14 days, and will miss the beginning of the new school year on 1 September, said Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst.

    “There is a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days, and mandatory testing when returning from a red area,” Van Ranst told VRT. “That means that those children will have to miss the beginning of the school year, unfortunately.”

    His remarks come as the Foreign Affairs Department changed the colour codes of several extra zones on Friday, including the Balearic Islands (such as Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca) and the Madrid region in Spain, and the Bouches du Rhône Departement (which includes Marseille and Aix-en-Provence) in France.

    The quarantine rule also applies when the zone was not yet red at the moment of departure in Belgium, but changed colours during your stay.

    “There will be no exceptions. The start of the new school year will not be easy,” Van Ranst said. “In some schools, children are going to get sick and they want to avoid those chances as much as possible.”

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    Last Monday, the Crisis Centre warned Belgians who were still planning on going abroad for the increasing number of coronavirus cases across Europe.

    “There is a real chance that the colour code of your holiday destination will change during your stay,” spokesperson Yves Stevens said. “Realise that, in the current circumstances, you are always taking a risk.”

    On Friday, figures by the Inter-Federal Testing and Tracing Committee showed that roughly 1,200 Belgians return from a red travel zone every day, despite to ban on non-essential travel.

    The full – and regularly updated – list of countries and regions that are considered orange and red travel zones can be found here.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times